|Quiz #72 - August 13, 2006
|1. Why is this building called the "world's largest bird feeder"?
2. What event is taking place?
|Thanks to Jim Kiser for suggesting this quiz.
1. It is the Corn Palace in Mitchell, South Dakota.
Its exterior is completely covered with corn, grain, and grasses
arranged into large murals. After Corn Palace Week ends and winter sets it,
local pigeons and squirrels make a feast of the tasty murals.
2. It is the annual Corn Palace Week, 1921.
|The Corn Palace
Mitchell, South Dakota
The World's Only Corn Palace is Mitchell's Premier
tourist attraction. Some 500,000 tourists come from
around the nation each year to see the uniquely designed
corn murals. The original Mitchell Corn Palace (known as
"The Corn Belt Exposition")
was built in 1892 to showcase the rich soil of South
Dakota and encourage people to settle in the area. It was a
wooden castle structure on Mitchell's Main Street. In
1904–1905, the city of Mitchell mounted a challenge to
the city of Pierre in an unsuccessful attempt to replace it
as the State Capital of South Dakota. As part of this effort, the Corn Palace was rebuilt
The palace was conceived as a gathering place
where city residents and their rural neighbors
could enjoy a fall festival with extraordinary
stage entertainment – a celebration to climax a
crop-growing season and harvest. The present
building was completed in 1921 with a design
by the architectural firm Rapp and Rapp of
Our quiz picture was taken in 1921 and shows
the completion and opening of the new
permanent Corn Palace just in time for the Corn
Palace Festival. This building was larger and
more versatile than previous structures In the
1930’s, steps were taken to recapture the
artistic decorative features of the building and
minarets and kiosks of Moorish design were
added restoring the appearance of early day
The Palace is redecorated each year with
naturally colored corn and other grains and
native grasses to make it “the agricultural show-
place of the world”. Thirteen different colors or
shades of corn are used to decorate the Corn
Palace: red, brown, black, blue, white, orange,
calico, yellow and green. A different theme is
chosen each year, and murals are designed to
reflect that theme. Ear by ear the corn is nailed
to the Corn Palace to create a scene. The
decorating process usually starts in late May
with the removal of the rye and dock. The
corn murals are stripped at the end of August
and the new ones are completed by the first of
The exterior corn murals are replaced and
redesigned each year with a new theme. The
designs are created by local artists. From 1948–
1971 the artist Oscar Howe designed the panels.
Calvin Schultz designed the murals from 1977–
2002. Since 2003, the murals have been
designed by Cherie Ramsdell.
The Corn Palace serves as a huge auditorium
for touring celebrities (Lawrence Welk played
here five times - a record), as a sports arena for
the various Kernels teams, and a venue for
concerts, sports events, exhibits and other
community events. It is also the location of
Corn Palace Week, the high water mark of
Mitchell's yearly social calendar.
The 2006 Corn Palace Festival theme is “Salute
to Rodeo” and these murals look simply a-maize-
ing. The Corn Palace Stampede Rodeo
celebrated 35 years and is one of South
Dakota's premier rodeos. It is held every third
weekend in July. For more information about
the Corn Palace Festival, see
For more pictures of the Corn Palace through
the years, see
|Schedule of Events for This Year's Corn Palace Festival
Wednesday, August 23 @ 7 pm
Thursday, August 24 @ 7 pm
Celt featuring Michael Londra
of Riverdance with dancers and musicians
Friday, August 25 @ 7 pm
Loverboy and Eddie Money
Saturday, August 26 @ 7 pm
Sunday, August 27 @ 5 pm
Raven Symone with special guest Lil J
Get your ticket for these great shows at www.cornpalacefestival.com
|Panel 1 - Opening Ceremonies
|Panel 12 - At the End of the Day
|If You Are Planning a Trip to South Dakota
|This tradition continues with the annual Corn Palace Festival, August 23rd – August
Corn Palace: 601 N. Main St., Mitchell, SD
Directions: I-90 to Mitchell. North on Hwy 37 (Sanborn Blvd) into town. Right on 6th
Ave.The Palace is three blocks east of Hwy 37, at the corner of 6th and Main.
Admission: Free. Hours: Daily 8 am - 10 pm. Phone: 605-996-6223
Also visit the website of the Corn Palace Convention & Visitors' Bureau
I actually find this one fascinating and is now on my list of sites to visit if I ever get
over to the US. So now it is Disneyland, Mooning Amtrak and the Mitchell Corn Palace
- no boring tourist here!!!
I was at my computer and I recognized the corn palace immediately. My parents were
from Sioux City. My father's uncle, John Peirce, lived on property adjacent to the site
of the annual corn palace, which were temporary structures then. John was rich and
very prominent in Sioux City at that time. There is record of his wife exchanging
letters of complaint with the promoters of the corn palace because of the disruption to
her in her home. John and his wife subsequently donated their home so it could be
turned into a hospital. The story is that they just walked out the front door, leaving all
their possessions, including a milk cow, behind. Their new home is now the site of the
Sioux City Museum. When you read about early Sioux City, there is often a snarky
comment about the real corn palaces and their imitations in Mitchell.
I kept wondering what it would be like to be there and see all sorts of birds eating away
at the murals, and if the birds are leaving surprise droppings on the bystanders. Can you
image the hours it must take to create those images to just watch them be eaten up?
Then again, if you have too much corn what else would you do with it?
When we lived in Morris, MN on the far western side of MN, we used to hear about
the Corn Palace. Since it was built almost 115 years ago, it has some status. The
reason for building it in the first place was celebrate the fertile soils and bounty of grain
they produced. Today, Iowa and Illinois turn up their noses at such a notion in South
Dakota. One thing about it, though -- there is no need for traffic reports every 10 min.
on the radio like they do in the big cities. A better life than we have here in Illinois -
I'm from ND and thought of it immediately. Strangely, I have never visited that area of
the state, so have not seen it in person. The "Bird Feeder" is bizarre. Anything for a
They do some unusual things in the Great Plains/Midwest. I have no idea what
possesses these folks. Perhaps, it’s too much time to think while they’re working the
land. I don’t know if it would ‘play’ in Los Angeles, or any large metropolitan area,
except for Indianapolis. Go figure? I thought you’d enjoy ‘watching’ the Corn Palace
webcam. You could play ‘count the pick-up trucks’!
Whew, glad I got this one right. Being a big-time birder in one of the hottest birding
areas in the United States, I was worried I might slip on this one.
Yes it was easy but I thought it was rather fun. Can't imagine folks here in RI
participating in such an event.
I kind of thought it was a "corny" question!!
I'm not from SD, but I am from Mississippi so pace is usually a bit slower here too.
Although I can't really imagine building/covering something like that EVERY year, it
could be fun ONCE.
Some of the sites I read...said that most people would go to see Mt. Rushmore in North
Dakota and it sounded as those South Dakota was envious that they did not have such
grand tourist attractions.
Have you ever actually been in a Dakota? I'd tend to give them a little slack. Especially
in view of some of the things that become the focus of pride and intense interest in LA!
There must be a ring of droppings a foot high by now.
My first thought at reading the quiz and seeing the photo was that it's the Corn Palace
in Mitchell, South Dakota. Of course, I now can see its written on the outside of the
building. I actually visited the Corn Palace back in the 1970s. It was pretty odd back
then and I guess it still is.
|Congratulations to our winners!
Elizabeth Mackie Judy Cook
Jim Berry Eva Royal
Michele Bender Kelly Fetherlin
Debbie Sterbinsky Carol Epp
Frank Nollette Carole Cropley
Evan Hindman Dawn Carlile
Maureen O'Connor Marty Guidry
Betty Ware Mary Fraser
Margaret Waterman John Chulick
Bill Burrows Rick Norman
Alice Hix Betsy Scott
Carol Haueter Neil Ferguson
Pat Snyder Rick Mackinney
Anna Farris Judy Bethea
Randy Seaver Dale Niesen
Stan Read Fred Stuart
Elaine C. Hebert Bill Hurley
Delores Martin Marilyn Hamill
Allie Guidry David Lepitre
Edee Scott Mary Shah
If your name has been omitted from the list of winners, please let us know. It was unintentional.
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